Courses for Spring 2020
|Title||Instructors||Location||Time||Description||Cross listings||Fulfills||Registration notes||Syllabus||Syllabus URL|
|COML 006-401||Hindu Mythology||Deven Patel||TR 12:00 PM-01:00 PM||Premodern India produced some of the world's greatest myths and stories: tales of gods, goddesses, heroes, princesses, kings and lovers that continue to capture the imaginations of millions of readers and hearers. In this course, we will look closely at some of these stories especially as found in Purana-s, great compendia composed in Sanskrit, including the chief stories of the central gods of Hinduism: Visnu, Siva, and the Goddess. We will also consider the relationship between these texts and the earlier myths of the Vedas and the Indian Epics, the diversity of the narrative and mythic materials within and across different texts, and the re-imagining of these stories in the modern world.||SAST006401, RELS066401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 006-402||Hindu Mythology||F 10:00 AM-11:00 AM||Premodern India produced some of the world's greatest myths and stories: tales of gods, goddesses, heroes, princesses, kings and lovers that continue to capture the imaginations of millions of readers and hearers. In this course, we will look closely at some of these stories especially as found in Purana-s, great compendia composed in Sanskrit, including the chief stories of the central gods of Hinduism: Visnu, Siva, and the Goddess. We will also consider the relationship between these texts and the earlier myths of the Vedas and the Indian Epics, the diversity of the narrative and mythic materials within and across different texts, and the re-imagining of these stories in the modern world.||SAST006402, RELS066402||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 006-403||Hindu Mythology||F 10:00 AM-11:00 AM||Premodern India produced some of the world's greatest myths and stories: tales of gods, goddesses, heroes, princesses, kings and lovers that continue to capture the imaginations of millions of readers and hearers. In this course, we will look closely at some of these stories especially as found in Purana-s, great compendia composed in Sanskrit, including the chief stories of the central gods of Hinduism: Visnu, Siva, and the Goddess. We will also consider the relationship between these texts and the earlier myths of the Vedas and the Indian Epics, the diversity of the narrative and mythic materials within and across different texts, and the re-imagining of these stories in the modern world.||SAST006403, RELS066403||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 006-404||Hindu Mythology||F 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||SAST006404, RELS066404||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 006-405||Hindu Mythology||F 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||SAST006405, RELS066405||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 009-401||Intro Digital Humanities||Whitney A Trettien||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||This course provides an introduction to foundational skills common in digital humanities (DH). It covers a range of new technologies and methods and will empower scholars in literary studies and across humanities disciplines to take advantage of established and emerging digital research tools. Students will learn basic coding techniques that will enable them to work with a range data including literary texts and utilize techniques such as text mining, network analysis, and other computational approaches.||ENGL009401, HIST009401|
|COML 010-401||Central & Eastern Europe: Cultures, Histories, Societies||Kristen R Ghodsee||TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM||The reappearance of the concept of Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most fascinating results of the collapse of the Soviet empire. The course will provide an introduction into the study of this region its cultures, histories, and societies from the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire to the enlargement of the European Union. Students are encouraged to delve deeper into particular countries, disciplines, and sub-regions, such as Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, through an individual research paper and class presentations. Prerequisite: This course is one of two required core courses for the Russian and East European Studies (REES) major.||REES010401||All Readings and Lectures in English|
|COML 013-401||Intro Modrn S.Asia Lit: New Literatures of Resistance and Representations||Gregory Goulding||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||This course will provide a wide-ranging introduction to the literatures of South Asia from roughly 1500 to the present, as well as an exploration of their histories and impact on South Asian society today. How are literary movements and individual works - along with the attitudes towards religion, society, and culture associated with them - still influential in literature, film, and popular culture? How have writers across time and language engaged with questions of caste, gender, and identity? We will read from the rich archive of South Asian writing in translation - from languages that include Braj, Urdu, Bangla, and Tamil - to consider how these literatures depict their own society while continuing to resonate across time and space. Topics of dicussion will include the Bhakti poetries of personal devotion, the literature of Dalits - formerly referred to as the Untouchables - and the ways in which literature addresses contemporary political and social problems. Students will leave this course with a sense of the contours of the literatures of South Asia as well as ways of exploring the role of these literatures in the larger world. No prior knowledge of South Asia is required; this course fulfills the cross-cultural analysis requirement.||SAST007401||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 090-401||Gender, Sexuality, and Literature: Queer Autobiography||Max C Cavitch||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||This course will focus on questions of gender difference and of sexual desire in a range of literary works, paying special attention to works by women and treatments of same-sex desire. More fundamentally, the course will introduce students to questions about the relation between identity and representation. We will attend in particular to intersections between gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation, and will choose from a rich vein of authors: Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, the Brontes, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Nella Larsen, Radclyffe Hall, Willa Cather, Elizabeth Bishop, Jean Rhys, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Bessie Head, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Cherrie Moraga, Toni Morrison, Michael Cunningham, Dorothy Allison, Jeanette Winterson, and Leslie Feinberg.||GSWS090401, ENGL090401||Contact Dept Or Instructor For Classrm Info|
|COML 094-401||Intro Literary Theory: How To Read||David C Kazanjian||T 01:30 PM-04:30 PM||This course introduces students to major issues in the history of literary theory. Treating the work of Plato and Aristotle as well as contemporary criticism, we will consider the fundamental issues that arise from representation, making meaning, appropriation and adaptation, categorization and genre, historicity and genealogy, and historicity and temporality. We will consider major movements in the history of theory including the "New" Criticism of the 1920's and 30's, structuralism and post-structuralism, Marxism and psychoanalysis, feminism, cultural studies, critical race theory, and queer theory. See the Comparative Literature website at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/complit/ for a description of the current offerings.||ENGL094401|
|COML 096-401||Theories Gendr/Sexuality: Introduction To Feminist, Queer, and Trans Theory||Melissa E Sanchez||TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM||What makes men and women different? What is the nature of desire? This course introduces students to a long history of speculation about the meaning and nature of gender and sexuality -- a history fundamental to literary representation and the business of making meaning. We will consider theories from Aristophanes speech in Platos Symposium to recent feminist and queer theory. Authors treated might include: Plato, Shakespeare, J. S. Mill, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Michel Foucault, Gayle Rubin, Catherine MacKinnon, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, bell hooks, Leo Bersani, Gloria Anzaldua, David Halperin, Cherrie Moraga, Donna Haraway, Gayatri Spivak, Diana Fuss, Rosemary Hennesy, Chandra Tadpole Mohanty, and Susan Stryker.||ENGL096401, GSWS096401||Humanities & Social Science Sector|
|COML 099-401||Television and New Media||Rahul Mukherjee||W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||How and when do media become digital? What does digitization afford and what is lost as television and cinema become digitized? As lots of things around us turn digital, have we started telling stories, sharing experiences, and replaying memories differently? What has happened to television and life after “New Media”? How have television audiences been transformed by algorithmic cultures of Netflix and Amazon? Social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook have blurred the lines between public and private spaces, and ushered in a heightened sense of immediacy to mediations of everyday life. When BuzzFeed (an aggregator of hilarious memes) starts doing serious journalism, in what ways does it transform the production and evaluation of news? How have (social) media transformed socialities as ephemeral snaps and swiped intimacies become part of the "new" digital/phone cultures? This is an introductory survey/exploratory course and we discuss a wide variety of media technologies and phenomena that include: cloud computing, Internet of Things, hacking, trolls, “FAKE NEWS,” distribution platforms, optical fiber cables, surveillance tactics, social media, and race in cyberspace. We also examine emerging mobile phone cultures in the Global South and the environmental impact of digitization. Course activities include Tumblr blog posts and Instagram curations. The course assignments consist of in-class mid-term and a take home end-term of long answer-type questions.
||CIMS103401, ARTH107401, ENGL078401|
|COML 101-401||Introduction To Folklore||Dan Ben-Amos||TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM||The purpose of the course is to introduce you to the subjects of the discipline of Folklore, their occurrence in social life and the scholarly analysis of their use in culture. As a discipline folklore explores the manifestations of expressive forms in both traditional and moderns societies, in small-scale groups where people interface with each face-to-face, and in large-scale, often industrial societies, in which the themes, symbols, and forms that permeate traditional life, occupy new positions, or occur in different occasions in in everyday life. For some of you the distinction between low and high culture, or artistic and popular art will be helpful in placing folklore forms in modern societies. For others, these distinction will not be helpful. In traditional societies, and within social groups that define themselves ethnically, professionally, or culturally, within modern heterogeneous societies, and traditional societies in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia, folklore plays a more prominent role in society, than it appears to plan in literature cultures on the same continents. Consequently the study of folklore and the analysis of its forms are appropriate in traditional as well as modern societies and any society that is in a transitional phase.||NELC181401, FOLK101401, RELS108401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Humanities & Social Science Sector|
|COML 107-401||Italy and Migrations: A Long History||Marina Sasaki Johnston||MWF 02:00 PM-03:00 PM||This freshman seminar explores the history of migrations to and from Italy, from antiquity to the present, in order to reveal the complexity of Italian culture and to analyze Italian views of the world and the world’s views of Italy through a variety of documents, literary works, art, scholarly and news articles, and film. We will begin with the foundational myth of Rome out of Aeneas’ migration to seek refuge in a new land after the destruction of Troy (Vigil’s Aeneid), and we will move on to retrace Marco Polo’s trek from Venice to China (Marco Polo: The Description of the World) and Shun Li’s arrival from China to Venice (Segre’s Shun Li and the Poet). We will follow the Italian migrations to the United States before and after American Independence and Italian Unification in pursuit of the “American dream” (from Philip Mazzei, Jefferson's "Zealous Whig" to Crialese’s Nuovomondo – Golden Door and Scorsese’s Italianamerican), and we will witness the transformation of Italy into a new “America” for migrants from other nations (Amelio’s Lamerica, Melliti’s Io l’altro [I the other] and Crialese’s Terraferma).
||ITAL100401, CIMS014401||Freshman Seminar
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 108-401||Greek & Roman Mythology||Peter T. Struck||MW 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few contemporary American ones, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Investigate these questions through a variety of topics creation of the universe between gods and mortals, religion and family, sex, love, madness, and death.||CLST100401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|Course is available to Freshmen and Upperclassmen.
Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
|COML 108-402||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 03:00 PM-04:00 PM||Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few contemporary American ones, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Investigate these questions through a variety of topics creation of the universe between gods and mortals, religion and family, sex, love, madness, and death.||CLST100402||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-403||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few contemporary American ones, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Investigate these questions through a variety of topics creation of the universe between gods and mortals, religion and family, sex, love, madness, and death.||CLST100403||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-404||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||CLST100404||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-405||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 03:00 PM-04:00 PM||CLST100405||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-406||Greek & Roman Mythology||F 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||CLST100406||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-407||Greek & Roman Mythology||F 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||CLST100407||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-408||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 02:00 PM-03:00 PM||CLST100408||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 108-409||Greek & Roman Mythology||R 02:00 PM-03:00 PM||CLST100409||Registration also required for Lecture (see below)|
|COML 123-401||World Film Hist To 1945||Meta Mazaj||TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM||This course surveys the history of world film from cinema s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own.||CIMS101401, ARTH108401, ENGL091401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 123-601||World Film Hist To 1945||Peter Lesnik||W 05:00 PM-08:00 PM||This course surveys the history of world film from cinema s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own.||ENGL091601, CIMS101601, ARTH108601||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 124-401||World Film Hist '45-Pres||TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM||Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last three decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, weekly Canvas postings, and active participation in class discussion.
Fulfills Cross Cultural Analysis and Arts and Letters Sectors.
|CIMS102401, ARTH109401, ENGL092401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 124-601||World Film Hist '45-Pres||Peter Lesnik||TR 04:30 PM-06:00 PM||Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last three decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, weekly Canvas postings, and active participation in class discussion.
Fulfills Cross Cultural Analysis and Arts and Letters Sectors.
|CIMS102601, ARTH109601, ENGL092601||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 154-401||Forest Worlds||Simon J Richter||MWF 02:00 PM-03:00 PM||Can the humanities help us think differently about the forest? What happens if we imagine forests as the agents of their stories? At the same time that forests of the world are in crisis, the “rights of nature” movement is making progress in forcing courts to acknowledge the legal “personhood” of forests and other habitats. The stories that humans have told and continue to tell about forests are a source for the imaginative and cultural content of that claim. At a time when humans seem unable to curb the destructive practices that place themselves, biodiversity, and the forests at risk, the humanities give us access to a record of the complex inter-relationship between forests and humanity. The course begins with the oldest extant stories, which reveal startlingly fresh insights into the foundations of human behavior. In one of the oldest, Gilgamesh and his companion lay waste to a sacred cedar grove and slay its guardian. In mythology, forests and trees intertwine with the lives of humans and gods. In fairy tales, forests can be foreboding places. Since early modern times, deforestation has been an abiding consequence of industrial activity, to the point of precipitating Europe’s first energy crisis. The concept of sustainable yield forestry originated during the early enlightenment and led to cultural practices that continue to shape green politics. At the same time, romanticism inspired a philosophical regard for the forest and the creative power of nature. Recent studies in forestry as well as psychology are shedding new light on the communicative capacity of tree networks (the “wood wide web”) and the therapeutic properties of trees on humans, while city planners, landscape architects, and urban foresters break down the divide between city and forest. New histories of wood and the forest are opening our eyes to stories bigger than ourselves. The outcome of German elections may turn in part on the symbolic value of a forest. In the 2018 novel, The Overstory, McArthur-Award winning author Richard Powers, breaks new ground in integrating human lives into the environmental narrative that contains us. These and other stories told in the West and the Global South provide models for rethinking our
||GRMN151401, CIMS152401, ENVS151401||All Readings and Lectures in English|
|COML 156-401||Queer German Cinema||Ian Fleishman||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||Taught in English. This course offers an introduction into the history of German-language cinema with an emphasis on depictions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer themes. The course provides a chronological survey of Queer German Cinema from its beginnings in the Weimar Republic to its most recent and current representatives, accompanied throughout by a discussion of the cultural-political history of gay rights in the German-speaking world. Over the course of the semester, students will learn not only cinematic history but how to write about and close-read film. No knowledge of German or previous knowledge required.||GRMN156401, CIMS156401, GSWS156401||All Readings and Lectures in English|
|COML 191-401||World Literature||Zain Rashid Mian
Martin Antonio Premoli
|M 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||How do we think 'the world' as such? Globalizing economic paradigms encourage one model that, while it connects distant regions with the ease of a finger-tap, also homogenizes the world, manufacturing patterns of sameness behind simulations of diversity. Our current world-political situation encourages another model, in which fundamental differences are held to warrant the consolidation of borders between Us and Them, "our world" and "theirs." This course begins with the proposal that there are other ways to encounter the world, that are politically compelling, ethically important, and personally enriching--and that the study of literature can help tease out these new paths. Through the idea of World Literature, this course introduces students to the appreciation and critical analysis of literary texts, with the aim of navigating calls for universality or particularity (and perhaps both) in fiction and film. "World literature" here refers not merely to the usual definition of "books written in places other than the US and Europe, "but any form of cultural production that explores and pushes at the limits of a particular world, that steps between and beyond worlds, or that heralds the coming of new worlds still within us, waiting to be born. And though, as we read and discuss our texts, we will glide about in space and time from the inner landscape of a private mind to the reaches of the farthest galaxies, knowledge of languages other than English will not be required, and neither will any prior familiary with the literary humanities. In the company of drunken kings, botanical witches, ambisexual alien lifeforms, and storytellers who've lost their voice, we will reflect on, and collectively navigate, our encounters with the faraway and the familiar--and thus train to think through the challenges of concepts such as translation, narrative, and ideology. Texts include Kazuo Ishiguro, Ursula K. LeGuin, Salman Rushdie, Werner Herzog, Jamaica Kincaid, Russell Hoban, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Arundhathi Roy, and Abbas Kiarostami.||CLST191401, ENGL277401|
|COML 193-601||Great Story Collections||David Azzolina||T 06:30 PM-09:30 PM||This course is intended for those with no prior background in folklore or knowledge of various cultures. Texts range in age from the first century to the twentieth, and geographically from the Middle East to Europe to the Unite States. Each collection displays various techniques of collecting folk materials and making them concerete. Each in its own way also raises different issues of genre, legitimacy, canon formation, cultural values and context.||ENGL099601, FOLK241601||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 201-401||Topics Film History: Global Documentary||W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||This topic course explores aspects of Film History intensively. Specific course topics vary from year to year.||CIMS201401, ENGL291401, ARTH391401|
|COML 204-401||Tolstoy||D. Brian Kim||TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM||Few authors have ever been able to combine their moral and artistic visions as closely as Tolstoy. Over the course of the semester, we will plot how Tolstoy's ethical concerns changed over the course of his life and how this was reflected in works, which include some of the greatest prose ever written. We will begin by surveying the majestic and far-reaching world of his novels and end with some of Tolstoy's short later works that correspond with the ascent of "Tolstoyism" as virtually its own religion.||REES202401||Benjamin Franklin Seminars
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 206-401||Italian Hist On Screen||Marina Sasaki Johnston||MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM||How has our image of Italy arrived to us? Where does the story begin and who has recounted, rewritten, and rearranged it over the centuries? In this course, we will study Italy's rich and complex past and present. We will carefully read literary and historical texts and thoughtfully watch films in order to attain an understanding of Italy that is as varied and multifacted as the country itself. Group work, discussions and readings will allow us to examine the problems and trends in the political, cultural and social history from ancient Rome to today. We will focus on: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war and contemporary Italy.||CIMS206401, ITAL204401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|All Readings and Lectures in English|
|COML 212-401||Mod Mideast Lit in Trans||Nili R Gold
Fatemeh Shams Esmaeili
|MW 05:00 PM-06:30 PM||The Middle East boasts a rich tapestry of cultures that have developed a vibrant body of modern literature that is often overlooked in media coverage of the region. While each of the modern literary traditions that will be surveyed in this introductory course-Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish-will be analyzed with an apprreciation of the cultural context unique to each body of literature, this course will also attempt to bridge these diverse traditions by analyzing common themes-such as modernity, social values, the individual and national identity-as reflected in the genres of postry, the novel and the short story. This course is in seminar format to encourage lively discussion and is team-taught by four professors whose expertise in modern Middle Eastern literature serves to create a deeper understanding and aesthetic appreciation of each literary trandition. In addition to honing students' literary analysis skills, the course will enable students to become more adept at discussing the social and political forces that are reflected in Middle Eastern literature, explore important themes and actively engage in reading new Middle Eastern works on their own in translation. All readings are in English.||NELC201401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 219-401||Fren Lit: Indiv/Society||Scott M Francis||TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 232 has as its theme the Individual and Society. Prerequisite: Two 200-level courses taken at Penn or equivalent.||FREN232401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 219-402||Fren Lit: Indiv/Society||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 232 has as its theme the Individual and Society. Prerequisite: Two 200-level courses taken at Penn or equivalent.||FREN232402||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 219-403||Fren Lit: Indiv/Society||MWF 11:00 AM-12:00 PM||This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 232 has as its theme the Individual and Society. Prerequisite: Two 200-level courses taken at Penn or equivalent.||FREN232403||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 246-401||Modern Arabic Literature: Modern Arabic Poetry||Huda Fakhreddine||TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM||This course is a study of modern Arabic literary forms in the context of the major political and social changes which shaped Arab history in the first half of the twentieth century. The aim of the course is to introduce students to key samples of modern Arabic literature which trace major social and political developments in Arab society. Each time the class will be offered with a focus on one of the literary genres which emerged or flourished in the twentieth century: the free verse poem, the prose-poem, drama, the novel, and the short story. We will study each of these emergent genres against the socio-political backdrop which informed it. All readings will be in English translations. The class will also draw attention to the politics of translation as a reading and representational lens.||NELC231401, NELC631401||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 247-401||Marx||Siarhei Biareishyk||TR 04:30 PM-06:00 PM||"A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism": This, the famous opening line of The Communist Manifesto, will guide this course's exploration of the history, legacy, and potential future of Karl Marx's most important texts and ideas, even long after Communism has been pronounced dead. Contextualizing Marx within a tradition of radical thought regarding politics, religion, and sexuality, we will focus on the philosophical, political, and cultural origins and implications of his ideas. Our work will center on the question of how his writings seek to counter or exploit various tendencies of the time; how they align with the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and other radical thinkers to follow; and how they might continue to haunt us today. We will begin by discussing key works by Marx himself, examining ways in which he is both influenced by and appeals to many of the same fantasies, desires, and anxieties encoded in the literature, arts and intellectual currents of the time. In examining his legacy, we will focus on elaborations or challenges to his ideas, particularly within cultural criticism, postwar protest movements, and the cultural politics of the Cold War. In conclusion, we will turn to the question of Marxism or Post-Marxism today, asking what promise Marx's ideas might still hold in a world vastly different from his own. All readings and lectures in English.||PHIL247401, GRMN247401||All Readings and Lectures in English
Humanities & Social Science Sector
|COML 256-401||Contempor Fict/Film-Jpan||Ayako Kano||R 01:30 PM-04:30 PM||This course will explore fiction and film in contemporary Japan, from 1945 to the present. Topics will include literary and cinematic representation of Japan s war experience and post-war reconstruction, negotiation with Japanese classics, confrontation with the state, and changing ideas of gender and sexuality. We will explore these and other questions by analyzing texts of various genres, including film and film scripts, novels, short stories, manga, and academic essays. Class sessions will combine lectures, discussion, audio-visual materials, and creative as well as analytical writing exercises. The course is taught in English, although Japanese materials will be made available upon request. No prior coursework in Japanese literature, culture, or film is required or expected; additional secondary materials will be available for students taking the course at the 600 level. Writers and film directors examined may include: Kawabata Yasunari, Hayashi Fumiko, Abe Kobo, Mishima Yukio, Oe Kenzaburo, Yoshimoto Banana, Ozu Yasujiro, Naruse Mikio, Kurosawa Akira, Imamura Shohei, Koreeda Hirokazu, and Beat Takeshi.||CIMS151401, EALC151401, EALC551401, GSWS257401||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 260-401||Translating Cultures||Kathryn Hellerstein||TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM||"Languages are not strangers to one another," writes the great critic and translator Walter Benjamin. Yet two people who speak different languages have a difficult time talking to one another, unless they both know a third, common language or can find someone who knows both their languages to translate what they want to say. Without translation, most of us would not be able to read the Bible or Homer, the foundations of Western culture. Americans wouldn't know much about the cultures of Europe, China, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. And people who live in or come from these places would not know much about American culture. Without translation, Americans would not know much about the diversity of cultures within America. The very fabric of our world depend upon translation between people, between cultures, between texts.||JWST264401, GRMN264401||Arts & Letters Sector||Benjamin Franklin Seminars
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 265-401||Jewish Films & Lit||Kathryn Hellerstein||TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM||From the 1922 silent film "Hungry Hearts" through the first "talkie," "The JazzSinger," produced in 1927, and beyond "Schindler's List," Jewish characters have confronted the problems of their Jewishness on the silver screen for a general American audience. Alongside this Hollywood tradition of Jewish film, Yiddish film blossomed from independent producers between 1911 and 1939, and interpreted literary masterpieces, from Shakespeare's "King Lear" to Sholom Aleichem's "Teyve the Dairyman," primarily for an immigrant, urban Jewish audience. In this course, we will study a number of films and their literary sources (in fiction and drama), focusing on English language and Yiddish films within the framework of three dilemmas of interpretation: a) the different ways we "read" literature and film, b) the various ways that the media of fiction, drama, and film "translate" Jewish culture, and c) how these translations of Jewish culture affect and are affected by their implied audience. All readings and lectures in English.||ENGL279401, GRMN261401, CIMS279401, JWST263401||Arts & Letters Sector|
|COML 274-401||Topics 20th-Cent Poetry: Groundbreaking Poets and Traditional Forms||Taije Jalaya Silverman||TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM||The course explores an aspect of 20th-century poetry intensively; specific course topics will vary from year to year.||ENGL262401||Cultural Diversity in the US|
|COML 282-401||Mod Heb Lit & Film Trans: the Holocaust in Israeli Literature and Film||Nili R Gold||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||In the first decade of the new millennium, the so called “Second Generation”, children of Holocaust survivors reached maturity. Only in their 40s and 50s they finally began confronting and reconstructing their parents’ experiences, as well as their own nightmarish childhoods. These include striking narratives Our Holocaust by Amir Gutfreund and Corner People by Esty G. Hayim as well as films like Walk on Water. The third generation is also returning to the forbidden story with prize winning films like The apartment. The quintessential Holocaust narrative The Diary of Anne Frank appeared in 1947, one year prior to the establishment of the Jewish State. Nevertheless, Israeli culture "waited" until the public trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 to hesitantly face the momentous catastrophe. The Zionist wish to forge a "New Jew" motivated this suppression, at least in part. Aharon Appelfeld’s stories were the first Holocaust-related works to enter the modernist literary scene in the 1960s, followed by the cryptic verse of Dan Pagis, a fellow child survivor. It was not until 1988 that this practice of concealing the past was broken, when two Israeli-born pop singers, children of survivors, released the watershed documentary Because of That War. This course will follow and analyze the transformation of Israeli literature and cinema from instruments of suppression into a means of processing this national trauma. While Israeli works constitute much of the course's material, European and American film and fiction play comparative roles.
||CIMS159401, JWST154401, NELC159401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 287-401||Ethnic Humor||Dan Ben-Amos||TR 10:30 AM-12:00 PM||Humor in ethnic societies has two dimensions: internal and external. The inside humor of an ethnic group is accessible to its members; it draws upon their respective social structures, historical and social experiences, languages, cultural symbols, and social and economic circumstances and aspirations. The external humor of an ethnic group targets members of other ethnic groups, and draws upon their stereotypes, and attributed characteristics by other ethnic groups. The external ethnic humor flourishes in immigrant and ethnically heterogenic societies. In both cases jokes and humor are an integral part of social interaction, and in their performance relate to the social, economic, and political dynamics of traditional and modern societies.||NELC287401, FOLK202401|
|COML 333-401||Dante's Divine Comedy: Through Hell with Love||MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM||In this course we will read the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, focusing on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, fiction, history, politics and language. Particular attention will be given to how the Commedia presents itself as Dante's autobiography, and to how the autobiographical narrative serves as a unifying thread for this supremely rich literary text. Supplementary readings will include Virgil's Aeneid and selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses. All readings and written work will be in English. Italian or Italian Studies credit will require reading Italian texts in the original language and writing about their themes in Italian. This course may be taken for graduate credit, but additional work and meetings with the instructor will be required. When crosslisted with ENGL 323, this is a Benjamin Franklin Seminar.||ITAL333401, ENGL323401||Cross Cultural Analysis||Benjamin Franklin Seminars
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 359-401||Sem Modern Hebrew Lit: Israeli Identity 1948-2020||Nili R Gold||M 03:30 PM-06:30 PM|| What does it mean to be Israeli? The literature written by Israelis in the last seven decades reflects a continuous struggle with identity. Following the establishment of the State in 1948 with its spirit of patriotism, Yehuda Amichai's 1955 poem "I want to die in my bed" was a manifesto for individualism. However, the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the wide-ranging character of Israeli society has returned writers to the social and political arenas. This course focuses both on how contemporary writers have metabolized the concept of national identity and examines its early literary iterations. Readings include poems by Natan Alterman, Yehuda Amichai, and Meir Wieseltier; fiction by Sayed Kashua, Amos Oz, and A.B. Yehoshua.
This course is for students interested in taking a literature course in Hebrew and are proficient in it. Texts, discussions, and papers are in Hebrew. There will be three 2-page written assignments over the course of the semester. Grading is based primarily on students’ literary understanding.
|JWST359401, NELC359401, JWST659401, NELC659401||Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
|COML 380-401||The Book of Exodus||Isabel Cranz||TR 04:30 PM-06:00 PM||This course introduces undergraduates and graduate students to one specific Book of the Hebrew Bible. "The Bible in Translation" involves an in-depth reading of a biblical source against the background of contemporary scholarship. Depending on the book under discussion, this may also involve a contextual reading with other biblical books and the textual sources of the ancient Near East. No prerequisites are required.||NELC250401, NELC550401, RELS224401, JWST255401|
|COML 391-401||Topics Film Studies: Cinema and Politics||Rita Barnard||MW 05:00 PM-06:30 PM||This seminar has a bold aim: it seeks to understand better what has happened in our world since the era of decolonization, by considering the term “politics” in its very broadest and most dramatic connotations, as the dream of social change (and its failure). Another way of describing its subject matter is to say that it is about revolution and counterrevolution since the Bandung Conference. Together we will investigate the way in which major historical events, including the struggle for Algerian independence, the military coup in Indonesia, the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, the Vietnam War, Latin American dictatorships, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, 9/11, and the Iraq War and its aftermath, have been represented in some of the most innovative and moving films of our time. Attention will therefore be paid to a variety of genres, including cinema verité, documentary, the thriller, the biopic, animation, the global conspiracy film, hyperlink cinema, science fiction and dystopia. Films will include: The Battle of Algiers, The Year of Living Dangerously, Memories of Underdevelopment, Lumumba and Lumumba: La Mort du Prophète, The Fog of War, The Lives of Others, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Even the Rain, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Waltz with Bashir, Caché, Children of Men, and The Possibility of Hope. An archive of secondary readings will be provided on Canvas. Writing requirements: a mid-term and a final paper of around 8-10 pages each.||ENGL392401, ARTH389401, CIMS392401||Benjamin Franklin Seminars|
|COML 391-402||Topics Film Studies: Visualizing the Future||W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||How do we visualize the future? Visuality, futurity, and practices of visualizing the future (or futures) are, to me, an inherently political undertaking. Images, visual practices, and visuality make possible particular ways of seeing, thinking, and imagining our worlds. Describing the political nature of images, Roland Bleiker writes, “they delineate what we, as collectives, see and what we don’t and thus, by extension, how politics is perceived, sensed, framed, articulated, carried out, and legitimized” (2018, 4). The stakes of visuality are high. Whether or how an individual, a community, an issue, or an event is depicted can have powerful effects on how histories are narrated, how precarity might be attended to, or how categories of knowledge are reproduced or disrupted. The future is also a concept with significant political stakes. The future is not a given or determined system of relations. Our perspectives on history, hegemonic structures and institutions, and narratives of the possible all shape the multiple futures that might be brought into being or foreclosed. The work of rethinking and reimagining possible worlds requires a host of practices, which include the work of seeing, of image-making, and other visual methods. To visualize the future is political work. This course will explore the political work of images, visual practices, and futurities. Texts will be drawn from canonical and emergent works in visual studies and media theory, as well as Indigenous studies, Black studies, multispecies studies, and political ecology. Assignments will include reflective essays, field visits to museums and art galleries in the Philadelphia area, and a final extended essay.
||CIMS392402, ARTH389402, ENGL392402|
|COML 393-401||Queering North African Subjectivities||Alexandra Sofia Gueydan-Turek||M 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||This seminar will explore the ways in which literary and visual representations of sexual difference and gender roles disrupt the cultural imagination of everyday life in North Africa and its Diasporas. Special attention will be given to representations of Arab women and queer subjectivities as sites of resistance against dominant masculinity. We will analyze the ways in which representations of gender have allowed for a redeployment of power, a reconfiguration of politics of resistance, and the redrawing of longstanding images of Islam in France. Finally, we will question how creations that straddle competing cultural traditions, memories and material conditions can queer citizenship. Course taught in English.||GSWS392401, FREN392401, AFRC392401||Cross Cultural Analysis|
|COML 513-401||A Black Seed (He) Sowed: An Introduction To Paleography & History of Books||Eva Del Soldato||W 04:00 PM-06:00 PM||Writing and reading are common actions we do every day. Nonetheless they have changed over the centuries, and a fourteenth century manuscript appears to us very different from a Penguin book. The impact of cultural movements such as Humanism, and of historical events, such as the Reformation, reshaped the making of books, and therefore the way of reading them. The course will provide students with an introduction to the history of the book, including elements of paleography, and through direct contact with the subjects of the class: manuscripts and books. Furthermore, a section of the course will focus on digital resources, in order to make students familiar with ongoing projects related to the history of book collections (including the "Philosophical Libraries" and the "Provenance" projects, based at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and at Penn). The course will be conducted in English; a basic knowledge of Latin is desirable but not required. The class will meet in Van Pelt Library.||ITAL511401|
|COML 555-401||Affect Theory & Power||Donovan O Schaefer||W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||Is power smart? Conventional models of power-- both in every day, common sense understandings and in academic studies-- tend to be instrumentalist .They understand power as a thoughtful exercise designed to achieve particular ends. But as we consider the political-cultural landscape, does the assumption that power is rational hold up? This seminar will examine and bring together an in-depth exploration of Michel Foucault's theory of power with contemporary affect theory and its relationship with Michel Foucault's theory of power to address this question. We will begin by mapping out Foucault's "analytics of power," from his early work on power knowledge to his late work on embodiment, desire, and the care of the self. We will then turn to consider a series of interpretations of Foucault within contemporary affect theory, an approach which centralizes the non-rational, emotive force of power. Along the way, we will consider formations of sex, race, religion, material culture, and cinema. No previous knowledge of theory is required. Students will be encouraged to connect the theoretical frames of the class to their own fields and areas of interest.||RELS552401, GSWS554401||https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2020A&course=COML555401|
|COML 558-401||Maj. Ren. Writers: Religion, Race and Sexuality in Early Modern Literature||Melissa E Sanchez||T 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||This seminar will examine the mutual pressures and formations of religion, race, and sexuality in early modern poetry. How are spiritual and secular discourses of desire mutually constitutive? Is the experience of religious devotion, with its gender-fluid identifications and erotic raptures, ever anything but queer? To what extent does Christianity depend on, and even construct, racialized hierarchies? How does early modern theology disrupt the stable selfhood, self-satisfied morality, and monogamous attachment often assumed central to modern definitions of faith? Primary texts will include lyric poetry by Donne, Lock, Shakespeare, Lanyer, and Crashaw along with Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and Milton’s Paradise Lost. All students will lead one seminar discussion and write one conference-length paper (10-12 pages).
||ENGL538401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 562-401||Public Enviro Humanities: Public Environmental Humanities||Bethany Wiggin||W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM||This broadly interdisciplinary course is designed for Graduate and Undergraduate Fellows in the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) who hail from departments across Arts and Sciences as well as other schools at the university. The course is also open to others with permission of the instructors. Work in environmental humanities by necessity spans academic disciplines. By design, it can also address and engage publics beyond traditional academic settings. This seminar, with limited enrollment, explores best practices in public environmental humanities. Students receive close mentoring to develop and execute cross-disciplinary, public engagement projects on the environment.||ANTH543401, GRMN544401, URBS544401, ENVS544401||Permission Needed From Instructor
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 563-401||The Novel: What Is A Subject?||Sarah P. Brilmyer||M 05:00 PM-08:00 PM||This course will provide an intensive introduction to the study of the novel, approaching the genre from a range of theoretical, critical, and historical perspectives. It may examine conflicting versions of the novel's history (including debates about its relationship to the making of the individual, the nation-state, empire, capital, racial and class formations, secularism, the history of sexuality, democracy, print and other media, etc.), or it may focus on theories of the novel, narratology, or a particular problem in novel criticism. It may attend to a specific form or subgenre of fiction, or it may comprise a survey of genres and texts.||ENGL560401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 570-401||Tps in Criticism & Theor: Literary Studies and Sociology||James English||T 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||Topic for Fall 2017: "Object Theory". This seminar will investigate the rise of and ongoing scholarly concern with "objects" and "things," which has emerged from fields such as anthropology and art history as a category of renewed interest for literary scholars, too. We will investigate key contributions to theories of the object by thinkers such as: Mauss, Barthes, Heidegger, Latour, Benjamin, Bill Brown, Jane Bennett, among others. Literary readings will accompany these theoretical texts.||ENGL573401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 583-401||Materialism||Siarhei Biareishyk||R 01:30 PM-04:30 PM||How do we recognize materialism? This seminar poses this question by acknowledging "materialism" as a contested category with disparate and contradictory historical meanings: as a synonym for dogmatism, as the arch-enemy of reason and morality, as the scientific philosophy of the revolutionary workers' movement, as an alternative to (idealist) metaphysics, as a poetic practice, or as a central concern for material nature and environment, among others. Less concerned with enumerating philosophical systems, we will search out "family resemblances" and materialist tendencies among a wide range of texts. To this end, we will not only read the major historical texts of the so-called materialists (from Lucretius to Spinoza, from La Mettrie to Lenin), but also engage with materialism's supposed critics and antagonists (from Plato to Kant and Hegel). A special emphasis will be placed on the attempts to recuperate materialism as a positive category in recent critical theory and continental philosophy, for example, in the reinventions of Marxist and Spinozist traditions. We will also survey the attempts that found new traditions, such as aleatory materialism or various new materialisms. By reading exemplary literary texts that engage with the problem of materialism the seminar will also ask: can one speak of materialist poetics?||GRMN572401||Undergraduates Need Permission
All Readings and Lectures in English
|COML 590-401||Study of Class, Race and Empire in the Americas||Jennifer Lyn Sternad Ponce De Leon||T 06:00 PM-09:00 PM||An introduction to major literary movements and authors from five areas of Francophonie: the Maghreb, West Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and Quebec.||ENGL590401, LALS590401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 592-401||20th C Lit & Theory: Adaptation Studies||Timothy Corrigan||R 09:00 AM-12:00 PM||The continual exchanges between literature and film throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—from the Silent Shakespeares of the early 1900s to the 2013 Great Gatsby and As I Lay Dying--have made it virtually impossible to study one without the other. Since 1895 the relationship between the two practices has evolved and changed dramatically, always as a measure of larger cultural, industrial, and aesthetic concerns. In addition to questions about “textual fidelity,” today the debates about the interactions of film and literature have opened and enriched innumerable textual case studies of adaptation but also pointed to larger concerns and debates which resonate more broadly across both literary studies and film studies. These include debates about the cultural and textual terms of authorship, about the economic and political pressures permeating any adaptation, about the literature’s appropriation of cinematic and other media structures. More broadly, today adaptation studies now move well beyond just literature and film, involving video games, YouTube mash ups, and numerous other textual and cultural activities that invigorate and complicate the importance of theories, practices, and histories of adaptation into the 21st century.
||ENGL592401, CIMS592401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 593-401||Italian Jewish Writers From the Emancipation To Primo Levi||T 04:00 PM-07:00 PM||This course’s objective is two-fold: to understand the rich tradition of Jewish Italian writers since the nineteenth century (including Enrico Castelnuovo, Umberto Saba, Italo Svevo, Giorgio Bassani, Natalia Ginzburg, Edith Bruck, and Primo Levi), and to explore the notion of Jewish memory as an integral part of the cultural history of modern Italy. Whether writing about the process of Jewish integration in post-unification Italy, the Jewish communities in Turin and Ferrara, or the consequences of the Racial Laws and the tragic experience of the Shoah, these writers narrated crucial moments in the life of Italy’s modern society as a whole, and problematized the very notion of an Italian identity as seen from the perspective of a minority. Questions related to national identity and minority status will be discussed through readings by Renan, Gramsci, Maalouf, Gellner, among others. Italy has the oldest Jewish Diaspora in the western World: does a Jewish cultural legacy exist in Italian literature? What does the nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature written by Jewish writers tell us about Italy’s relations with its oldest minority? Among the founding fathers of the Italian nation, a few wrote and fought for the legal and civic emancipation of Italian Jews (D’Azeglio, Tommaseo, Cattaneo), how did they reconcile the tension between the idea of equality for all citizens and the freedom of minorities to be different? And, finally, how do we understand today’s Italy and its multiethnic society considering the country’s history with its Jewish minority?
This class will be taught in English and is open to undergraduate students with permission of the instructor
|COML 611-401||Short Narrative Fiction in the French Middle Ages and Renaissance||Scott M Francis||F 02:00 PM-04:00 PM||This course will focus on prominent examples of the genres of tales and stories characteristic of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: lays, fabliaux, saints' lives, and novellas, which are among the most influential and widely distributed genres both in France and elsewhere. The success of these tales is a function of their origin in oral culture, their brevity, their wit, and their propensity for titillating, obscene, or even shocking subject matter. At the same time, though, their distinct blend of high and low culture provides modern readers with a window into the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of the medieval and early modern periods. The topics we will discuss include: The formal characteristics of each genre (narrative techniques, organizational principles), the ways in which seemingly disparate genres such as saints' lives and bawdy fabliaux can inform one another, how tales both follow and call into question the logic of exemplarity, according to which stories are meant to hold up good examples to be imitated and bad examples to be avoided, what representations of love, marriage, and sex can tell us about medieval and early modern conceptions of gender, how tales reflect developments in learned discourses such as theology, law, and medicine, how the same story can be told differently by multiple authors, and what these different versions can tell us about chronological, national, professional, and gender differences. While the primary focus of the course is on literature in French, particular attention is also given to the ways in which French short narrative fiction influences and is influenced by the larger medieval and early modern world, with a particular focus on England, Italy, and Spain. Moreover, English translations of all primary readings will be made available via Canvas, and in-class discussions will be designed to accommodate varying levels of ability in French. This course counts toward the graduate certificate in Global and Medieval Renaissance Studies.||FREN608401, ENGL510401|
|COML 632-401||Masterpieces of Sanskrit Culture: Literature, Philosophy, and Science||Deven Patel||T 05:00 PM-08:00 PM||Ancient India's two epic poems, composed in Sanskrit and received in dozens of languages over the span of two thousand years, continue to shape the psychic, social, and emotional worlds of millions of people around the world. The epic Mahabharata, which roughly translates to The Great Story of the Descendants of the Legendary King Bharata, is the longest single poem in the world (100,000 lines of Sanskrit verse) and tells the mythic history of dynastic power struggles in ancient India. An apocalyptic meditation on time, death, and the utter devastation brought upon the individual and the family unit through social disintegration, the epic also houses one of the great religious works of the world, The Bhagavad Gita (translation: The Song of God), which offers a buoy of hope and possibility in the dark ocean of the epic's violent narrative. The other great epic, The Ramayana (Rama's Journey), though essentially tragic, offers a brighter vision of human life, how it might be possible to live happily in an otherwise hopeless situation. It too is about struggles for power in ancient India but it offers characters--especially Rama-- that serve as ideals for how human beings might successfully negotiate life's great challenges. It also provides a model of human social order that contrasts with dystopic polities governed by animals and demons. Our course will engage in close reading of selections from both of these epic poems (in English translation, of course) and thus learn about the epic genre, its oral and textual forms in South Asia, and the numerous modes for interpreting the epic. We will also look at the reception of these ancient works in modern forms of media, such as the novel, television, theater, cinema and the comic book/anime. In the process, through selected essays and reflections, we will pay special attention to the ways in which the ancient epics remain deeply relevant in the modern world, reflecting on topics such as the aesthetics of war, the psychic life of social ideals, and creative responses to ethical conflicts.||SAST631401|
|COML 675-401||The Underground Imaginary||Andrea Goulet||T 01:00 PM-03:00 PM||From the vast quarries and catacombs under modern Paris to coalminer's tunnels in the North and coastal caves of the South, France's underground spaces have been associated through fiction with themes of political revolt, violent crime, symbolic purification, and scientific inquiry. The nineteenth century in particular saw the institutional and discursive rise of what William Whewell called the "palaetiological sciences", in which inquiry into the (geological) past reveals the patterns of the present. Combined with France's turbulent Revolutionary history, these fields marked the national consciousness with the recurring notion of cyclical cataclysm. As the century progressed, positivist thought inflected the underground imaginary through scientific fictions of discovery and naturalist fictions of patriotic recovery. But despite surface ideology, each narrative text contains its own stratified layers and schistic rifts, which we will study through close analysis of subterranean spaces in novels by Hugo (Les Misérables), Berthet (Les Catacombes de Paris), Verne (Voyage au centre de la terre), Leroux (La double vie de Théophraste Longuet), Sand (Laura: Voyage dans le cristal) and Zola (Germinal). The seminar will also include secondary readings by figures like Nadar and Dumas and scholars like Williams, Rudwick, Harkness, Prendergast, and Pike.||FREN675401||Undergraduates Need Permission|
|COML 683-401||Collective Violence, Trauma, and Representation||David C Kazanjian
Kevin M.F. Platt
|W 06:00 PM-09:00 PM||This seminar is organized as a laboratory space for graduate students and faculty working in a number of adjacent fields and problems. Seminar discussions will be led not only by the primary instructors, but also by a number of guests drawn from the Penn faculty. For the first weeks of the course, we will focus on seminal works in the interlinked areas of history and memory studies, cultural representations of collective violence, trauma studies, and other related topics. Beginning with the Xth week of the course, we will turn to case studies in a variety of geographic, cultural and historical contexts. Additionally, some later sessions of the course will be devoted to a presentation and discussion of a work in progress of a Penn graduate student, faculty member or a guest lecturer.||REES666401, ENGL791401, LALS683401||For Doctoral Students Only|
|COML 714-401||Clsl Reception Midages: Medieval Performances||Emily R Steiner||T 09:00 AM-12:00 PM||CLST610401, ENGL715401|
|COML 730-401||Race, Globalization and Capitalism in Early Modern England||Ania Loomba||R 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||This is an advanced course treating topics in 16th Century history and culture particular emphasis varying with instructor.||ENGL730401||For PhD Students Only|
|COML 753-401||What Was Victorian Studies?||Emily D. Steinlight||T 09:00 AM-12:00 PM||An advanced seminar treating some topics in Victorian British Literature, usually focusing on non-fiction or on poetry.||ENGL753401||For PhD Students Only|
|COML 791-401||African Film and Media Pedagogy||Dagmawi Woubshet
Karen E Redrobe
|R 12:00 PM-03:00 PM||This graduate seminar offers an intensive, critical, and collaborative study of contemporary African film and media production. The past three decades have seen an unprecedented shift in the African media landscape. Not only has the wide availability of satellite media across the continent made international film and television programing part of African popular culture, but moreover the growing film industries within the continent, most notably Nollywood, have altered how Africans are carving an image of themselves on the big and small screens.
In partnership with local, regional, and international film and media centers, we will study a range of films—features, shorts, documentaries, and television shows—paying close attention to the means and sites of production as well as the formal qualities that distinguish these works. Many of the films we will analyze stand out both for their exceptional aesthetic quality as well as their remarkable ability to confront pressing political and social themes. But we will also think about trash: what counts as trashy media, and for whom? Who watches it, where, and why? Other questions we will ask include: What particular indigenous modes of storytelling do African films employ? What categories begin to emerge under the umbrella category of "African film and media," and where do diasporan film and media practitioners and critics fit in this landscape? How are these films tackling some of the urgent questions of our times, including migration and globalization; ethnic, political, and economic polarization; gender and sexuality; and massive urbanization and industrialization sweeping Africa and other parts of the Global South? What role do festivals in various countries play in shaping media production and distribution? How important is the concept of authorship in this context? And how do these films challenge the dominant western trope of Africa as a spectacle, instead offering novel ways of picturing everyday African experiences that we rarely glimpse in western media?
To explore these questions, we will visit multiple sites of film production, distribution, exhibition, and education, including Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, Sankofa Films in Washington, D.C., and the College of Performing and Visual Art at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Location and knowledge production are inextricably connected, and by considering African media production from these multiple sites, and collaborating with multiple stakeholders, this course offers a directly engaged pedagogy of the complex artistic, cultural, social, and political dynamics of African audiovisual creation. The travel component of this course entails a day trip to Washington, D.C. during the semester and a week-long trip to Addis Ababa at the end of the spring term (students applying for this course should be prepared to travel May 30, 2020-June 7, 2020). Ultimately, this course aims to use film and media production to intervene in a larger discourse on how Africa is figured in the global humanities, not as an absent or passive actor but one actively engaged in producing art and humanistic knowledge that has much to teach us and the world.
Admission to the course will be by permission only and students are required to submit a short statement of interest (max. 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by November 1, 2019.
|ARTH791401, AFRC791401, CIMS791401, ENGL777401||Permission Needed From Instructor|
|COML 981-001||M.A. Exam Prep||Emily Wilson||T 06:30 PM-09:30 PM||Course open to first-year Comparative Literature graduate students in preparation for required M.A. exam taken in spring of first year.||Permission Needed From Instructor|